Intolerable Cruelty parents guide

Intolerable Cruelty Parent Guide

Overall C-

If trust, love and fidelity are words you use to describe the ideal marriage, then Intolerable Cruelty may prove to be a harsh look at the whole concept of matrimony.

Release date October 10, 2003

Violence C-
Sexual Content C
Profanity D
Substance Use B-

Why is Intolerable Cruelty rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Intolerable Cruelty PG-13 for sexual content, language and brief violence.

Run Time: 100 minutes

Parent Movie Review

If trust, love and fidelity are words you use to describe the ideal marriage, then Intolerable Cruelty may prove to be a harsh look at the whole concept of matrimony. There’s no “happily ever after” here, unless you’re the one who walks out of the nuptials with all the money.

For Miles Massey (George Clooney), a high-powered, show-no-mercy divorce lawyer, letting his clients go away penniless isn’t an option. He’s the company’s top biller and is so good at prenuptial agreements that Harvard Law School has devoted a whole semester to study his tactics. No case is too messy, no evidence too strong, no challenge too big for this hard-hearted, fact-twisting attorney and his assistant, Wrigley (Paul Adelstein).

However, the jaded and bored legal representative has his wits tried when Rex Rexroth (Edward Herrmann), a philandering husband comes scurrying into his office. Caught on videotape in a compromising spot, the well-heeled real estate tycoon wants some legal advice on how to protect his financial fortune from his separation-seeking spouse. Resorting to methods that should easily have him disbarred, Miles scrounges around for enough dirt on the current Mrs. Marilyn Rexroth (Catherine Zeta-Jones) to have her gold-digging case swept under the rug, leaving her wayward husband’s riches intact.

But Marilyn isn’t about to be “ex-ed” so easily. In a social circle where wealthy women discuss their discarded husbands as flippantly as last season’s fashions, a girl can’t afford to be cast off without a sizeable compensation in her hand. Resorting to her own rules of engagement, she’s about to teach the masterful Miles Massey he’s not the only cool-handed professional in the competitive game of love.

Although Clooney, Zeta-Jones and others offer some comedic momentum to this tale, the bottom line is that marriage is only a temporary rung on the ladder to being independently wealthy. Relationships are torn up and tossed aside as easily as the paper the prenuptial agreements are written on. Deceit, lies and unfaithfulness are promoted as common fare in wedded bliss. Parents may also cringe at the abundant profanities, lingerie clad girls, and a self-inflicted gunshot that results in death.

Willingly trading tit-for-tat in the battle for alimony and assets, Miles and Marilyn’s acrimonious interactions do little to uphold the sanctity of marriage. For them, the union is merely a legal license to inflict intolerable cruelty.

Starring George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Geoffrey Rush. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release October 10, 2003. Updated

Intolerable Cruelty Parents' Guide

How do clothing styles and colors influence how we feel about a character? What did Marilyn wear to the courtroom during her divorce trial? What did she wear when she was on the hunt for a new man?

What qualities were the marriages in this movie based on? How difficult would it be for a couple to overcome challenges like lying, infidelity and deceit in order to make a marriage work? Was love ever a real factor in these relationships?

How do you feel about prenuptial agreements? Do they affect the element of trust in a relationship? Does it hurt the chances for success in a marriage?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Professor Harold Hill employs lies and deceit to lure along the local librarian until he unintentionally falls in love with her while conning the town in The Music Man. While divorce can be messy, Steve Martin discovers that getting married can be pretty chaotic as well, especially when you’re the Father of the Bride. Catherine Zeta-Jones finds herself ensnared in another kind of deceitful relationship in the movie Entrapment.